The San Diego Padres have agreed in principle to a one-year contract with veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, Héctor Gómez reports. Cruz will make $1 million for his services, according to ESPN.
Cruz, 42, is coming off a season of struggles with the Nationals. In 124 games as Washington's DH, he slashed .234/.313/.337 with 10 home runs. That said, Cruz's batted-ball profile remained strong, and he's not far removed from an age-defying run that saw him hit 292 home runs from 2014 through 2021 -- a figure that would've been higher if not for the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. Cruz enters 2023 with a career OPS+ of 131 and 459 home runs.
With the Padres, the right-handed Cruz figures to be the lighter half of a DH platoon with Matt Carpenter. In keeping with expectations and his career trends, Cruz last season was significantly more effective against opposite-side pitching.
The Padres have legitimate designs on overtaking the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West in 2023 and claiming their first division title since 2006. To that end, this offseason they've added to an already star-powered roster the likes of Xander Bogaerts, the rejuvenated Carpenter, and now a decorated veteran slugger in Cruz.